Jakob Edwinn Returns This Saturday

“I took a bad face plant and separated my AC joint, my collar bone tried to come out of my shoulder.”

In late-April of last year, 12-year pro Jakob Edwinn, a pompous professor that lectures fans and opponents during the course of his matches, found himself on the canvas with a searing pain radiating through his shoulder. As he clutched his arm inside the squared circle at the Short Gap VFW Hall in Short Gap, West Virginia of all places, the philosopher knew that he was in trouble.

Just over a month later after a battery of tests to confirm and properly diagnosis the extent of the injury, the wrestling veteran went under the knife for his first major surgery to repair the damage the errant collision with the canvas caused. The surgeon to repaired his AC joint, and without any question, Edwinn began to prepare for his return to the squared circle.

In an ironic dynamic that only professional wrestling can provide, despite a persona based in higher education and a sophisticated presentation, Jakob Edwinn’s path throughout pro wrestling was anything but high brow and glamours.

Back in 2011, Edwinn was put in contact with longtime veteran and trainer “Wild man” Robbie Page and wanted to learn the ropes of the sport. The only problem was, there were no ropes. In fact, there wasn’t a ring available either. Instead, Edwinn and a group of other aspiring wrestlers put gym mats over a concrete floor, learning fundamental techniques and maneuvers in their makeshift training space. To actually get to learn more in-ring aspects, the grappling hopefuls would travel with their trainer to any card he was scheduled for and work the ring crew, setting up an actual ring just for the chance to be able to get ability to practice their skills before a live event.

His official debut in the sport in late-2012 didn’t have much glitz or spectacle to it either.

In a forgotten town in rural Pennsylvania, Edwinn stepped into the ring ropes for his first match as a professional wrestler in a parking lot behind a small restaurant. There were exactly 12 paying fans in attendance that night for the moment that the future professor put so much time and effort into, practicing tumbles on concrete floors and setting up more rings than he could count just to get a chance to learn more about the sport. The dozen fans that were there had to bring their own chairs, as the venue didn’t supply them, but at least Edwinn cites the chance to watch the legendary “Boogie Woogie Man” Jimmy Valiant as a key learning experience.

“I would go on to study him greatly, and years later wrestle Jimmy in a six man tag match in Dyersburg, TN four or five years later in front of 200 people,” Edwinn said.

Thankfully, Edwinn would have an upswing from the event that saw him perform in front of those 12 fans, honing his craft for more than a decade, zigzagging several states. He cited the long travel, late-night gas station food, and the exhaustion of wrestling a full schedule as key to his development as a polished talent. Working events along the east coast as far down as Florida, and as far west as Oklahoma, Edwinn displayed a work ethic not often seen on the independent circuit. Antagonizing audiences with his arrogant intellectual character, he showcased a poise in the ring, and most importantly, the ability to entertain an audience, which is a key aspect for a villain in the industry.

“Traveling isn’t anything it’s cracked up to be, it becomes a lot like the movie Office Space or Fight Club. You learn to love the road, you learn how to entertain yourself. When you find great traveling partners, that helps pass the time. In Arkansas I’ve wrestled in front of 1000 people for CWA. I really honed my craft, in Dyersburg, TN. They wrestle every Friday in Ripley and every Saturday in Dyersburg, you can’t help but get skilled with that kind of schedule,” Edwinn explained.

However, it was the same place where his journey into the grappling arts started, the Mountain State of West Virginia, that provided the most unique experience of his 12 years as a professional wrestler in a town called River Bend Park.

“This is a community of mobile homes, with houses built around being able to park your mobile home in it, and paid entertainment throughout the year. So, we set up our ring in a field, and 300 golf carts, the mode of transportation in River Bend, pull up to watch a couple hours of wrestling. The place is like the Lost Boys grew up and named streets; Yogi Bear Lane, Hotdog Blvd, Jolly Rancher St. it’s like another planet,” Jakob recalled.

Over the course of those 12 years, Edwinn went from those 12 fans in attendance at his first match to sharing the ring with some of the legends that originally shaped his fandom for the sport. From Hacksaw Jim Duggan and Jimmy Valiant to upstarts with potential to forge their own careers in the sport like Ryse Wrestling’s Cowpoke Paul, Jakob Edwinn has worked with a variety of opponents as he built an accomplished career for himself.

In a full-circle moment, Jakob Edwinn will return to from injury this Saturday for the same organization, Elite Pro Wrestling Alliance, in the same ring, and at that same Short Gap VFW hall where the shoulder injury initially happened.

The extensive rehab of his shoulder and extended time in the gym training for this comeback were only considered a small price to pay for the ability to entertain an audience again, as many of Edwinn’s goals remain the same.

“The fire burns brighter than ever. I have three goals when I accept any wrestling endeavor, make money, learn something, and have fun. If one of those isn’t happening, I’m not interested. I’m getting close to the best shape of my life and that’s dangerous for anyone in my way. I’m looking far and wide for anyone as smart as me to learn from, because no one has a hope of being smarter,” Edwinn concluded.

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Until next week
-Jim LaMotta

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